Man clearing path for pedestrians on busy Durham road powers past debris left by work crews

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- The broad brimmed hat worn by Eugene Council protects him from the late summer sun that bakes Durham as he works on a path through the grass beside busy Roxboro Road.

Last week, he said he's trying to make a safe space for people who have to walk beside the road because they don't have access to alternative ways of reaching their destinations.

"My job is just to get out here and clean off. I can't keep 'em safe, but I can get out here and try to clear a path and let them walk on it, just try to get 'em out of the street," Council said.

Monday, an ABC11 viewer said Council's path was blocked by piles of tree limbs and other debris. But on Tuesday, maintenance crews along Roxboro Road picked up that debris, which they said was left behind after crews cleared branches and limbs from Duke Energy power lines.

"They're just doing their job. But a lot of times they get distracted and they had a long work day, and I can understand that." Council said. "And they left and didn't quite clean up the debris that they left. But I got around it, I got around it! On the way home, I try to pick up some, 'cause it can get caught up under the cars and create havoc. Or if I see it in the path on the way back home, I try to throw it out because somebody might trip over it."

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Council said he's not finished yet. "Probably about a hundred or so feet left on it, to complete it! I meditate and I talk to the Lord on the way here, and he gives me such inspiration. All the people that inspire and keep waving at me. I got doctors, lawyers, policemen, firemen, bus people. All kinds of people I meet every day!"

Some of those people tooted their horns approvingly as their cars sped past him on Tuesday. When ABC11's Anthony Wilson asked him to please stay safe out there, he responded with a smile.

"Young man, you don't have to tell me! From all the way down there to here, trust me, they don't play," Council said. "But the good Lord takes care of me. I say a prayer before I leave home, because during the day anything can happen. But you've got to pray for all of these guys out here, that they can stay focused. They can be positive, and make it to their destination safely."

Neighbors have set up a fundraiser for Council.

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